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The City Council is rolling out the welcome mat for Big Brother.
On Saturday, the Lawn Litter Law went into effect, giving homeowners control over whether they will receive unsolicited ads on their doorsteps.
The losers will be the small business owners who rely on these ads and those who do not want government regulating their lives.
The law was created by the City Council to accommodate people unwilling to bend over and pick up circulars from their doorsteps. Often, these ads are in plastic bags, reducing the energy expended in picking them up.
To qualify for protection, homeowners must display a sign on their lawns no less than 5 inches tall and 7 inches wide, with letters at least 1 inch in size that read, "Do Not Place Unsolicited Advertising Materials on This Property." These will make "Keep Off the Lawn" signs look decorative.
Businesses ignoring these lawn markers will face a $250 fine. They face the same fine if they hire a neighborhood 12-year-old who puts ads on restricted lawns.
Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, normally a man with common sense, is defending the law that he must use his limited resources to enforce.
"Property owners know the feeling: They come home after a hard day's work or back from vacation only to find piles of unsolicited and unwanted advertising material on their lawn," he said. "This unwelcome material... [is] an annoyance and an enormous waste of paper."
Doherty supervises hundreds who hoist hundreds of trash cans that can weigh 50 pounds or more. Is he really worried that some accountant may have to pick up a flier when coming home from work?
The real paper waste is the law itself. It takes one second to pick up a circular. Those who think this is hard work probably need the exercise.
The curmudgeons who want to bust the chops of the pizza or Chinese delivery man who left menus on their doorsteps can go online to fill out a complaint form. Those without computers will need to make a trip to City Hall.
The sanitation workers who will process the complaints and conduct investigations and hearings will be wasting limited tax dollars depleting Sanitation's budget. This money could be put to better use.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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